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Us 27, Mr. Reid 24, Boehner 21, New York 17, United States 12, U.s. 11, Washington 11, Reid 10, David Walker 5, Maryland 4, California 4, Nevada 4, Afghanistan 4, John Boehner 3, Mr. Engelmayer 3, Doma 3, Reed 3, Mr. Walker 3, Harry Reid 3, Manglona 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    July 25, 2011
    5:00 - 8:00pm EDT  

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calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: today, the senate will vote on the nomination of paul engelmayer to be u.s. district judge southern district new york, and ramona manglona to be judge for the district court of the northern mariana islands. the seat to which mr. engelmayer is being considered has been deemed a judicial emergency. with this vote, we will have confirmed 29 article 3 judicial
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nominees, 18 having been for judicial emergencies. miss manglona's confirmation vote marks the second article 4 judicial confirmation this year, and i'm pleased that we're moving forward to bill these two vacancies. we continue to make good progress in processing president obama's judicial nominees. as of today, the senate has confirmed 60% of president obama's nominees since the beginning of his presidency, and this does not include the two supreme court justices nominated by president obama. as i'm sure my colleagues recall, those nominations consumed a considerable amount of time in the committee and on the senate floor as you would expect for people being nominated to the supreme court. during this congress, the judiciary committee has held hearings on more than 72% of the
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president's nominees. another hearing is scheduled to take place this wednesday. during the comparable time period for president bush, only 64% of president bush's nominees had hearings by this time. we have also reported 64% of the judicial nominees compared to only 56% of president bush's nominees. let me say just a few words about mr. engelmayer and judge manglona. mr. engelmayer graduated summa cum laude harvard university 1983. he then graduated magna cum laude from harvard law school 1987. following law school, the nominee clerked for judge patricia wald, u.s. court of appeals for district of columbia and then for justice thurgood marshall of the supreme court. after his clerkships, mr. engelmayer joined the united
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states attorney's office for the southern district of new york as assistant u.s. attorney. in 1994, he became an assistant to the solicitor general of the united states. in 2000, the nominee entered private practice with wilmer hale and was later named partner in charge of the new york office. the american bar association standing committee on the federal judiciary has given mr. engelmayer a unanimous, well-qualified rating. i support this nomination and congratulate him on his professional accomplishments. a few words on judge manglona. she received her bachelor's of arts degree from the university of california-berkeley, 1990. in 1996, she graduated from the university of new mexico law school. following law school, the nominee clerked for the superior court of the commonwealth of north mariana islands. she then worked in the attorney general's office, and in 2002,
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the governor appointed her attorney general for northern mariana islands. in 2003, she was appointed to serve as an associate judge for the northern mariana islands superior court. during her time on the superior court, she had also served as judge pro tempore for the guam superior court and the guam supreme court. the american bar association's standing committee on the federal judiciary has rated judge manglona unanimously qualified. i also support this nomination and congratulate her on her professional accomplishments. i yield the floor. mr. reid: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we have an unusual situation. it looks nice outside today, the sun is shining, but earlier today if some looked out the window there were violent storms here. they are all over the area. we have got senators stuck in airplanes trying to get out of new york. we have got one senator traveling from the midwest stuck
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in richmond, virginia, now. so i think it would be to everyone's interest -- i apologize to people who worked hard to get back here today, but i think it would be to everyone's interest that we not have a vote tonight. we have a lot of people simply would miss the vote if we kept it open for a matter of hours. i again apologize to the people who came here to vote, but i would -- i think that is the best thing to do. i have spoken to the republican leader, and this is what we should do. so i ask unanimous consent that the vote scheduled for tonight be vitiated, that on tuesday -- that's tomorrow, july 26, at 12:15, the senate go to executive session and resume consideration of nomination of calendars number 83 and 84. there will be two minutes for debate equally divided in the usual form. upon use or yielding back of the time, the senate proceed to vote with no intervening action or debate on calendars number 83 and 84 in that order. that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon
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the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motion be in order, that any related statements be printed in the record and that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there an objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mississippi. mr. reid: would you yield to me for just a brief second? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. reid: mr. president, we are not in a quorum call. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. reid: i ask knack that be vitiated. i ask unanimous consent that we now proceed to a period of morning business and allow senators to speak for up to ten minutes each and we be in morning business until 7:00 tonight. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: now, mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: i wish to speak as in morning business. and i certainly will not take the ten minutes that the majority leader has requested, because i know the senator from alabama is eager to speak. i just want to make sure that i understand where we are with regard to the debt ceiling. i have here an article tpr*t from "the -- i have here an article from "the hill" dated
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yesterday, and it points out, it heard the same thing in the speech that the rest of the nation heard when the president spoke. the president said he would be willing to work on any plans, any plans that lawmakers brought to him over the weekend. the president went on to say -- quote -- "the only bottom line i have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013." unquote; president obama said. now i ask my colleagues wharbgs does the election -- what does the election of 2012 have to do with the debt ceiling? what does it have to do with deciding to pay our obligations after august 2? what does it have to do with avoiding the calamity that we've all heard about from both sides of the aisle and certainly from the administration?
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it strikes me as very odd that most debt ceiling extensions have been about seven months during a decades-long period. and for some reason, because of the election of 2012, the president of the united states wants to extend the deadline past that election into 2013. i think it makes americans wonder if the president is playing politics with this very important issue. the president went on to say in the press conference that we all listened to that he wondered if the republicans were able to say yes to any agreement. now, that was the president on friday evening. and now we come to washington, , d.c., today with the clock
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ticking, eight days away from a supposed debacle, and i read in today's "wall street journal" this report by jamie dupree, "president obama last night rejected a bipartisan deal offered to him by congressional leaders of both parties which would have provided for a short-term extension of the debt limit in order to avoid a u.s. government default. the agreement involves speaker boehner, senate majority leader reid, and senate g.o.p. leader mcconnell. in fact" -- according to this "wall street journal" article, "staffers were working together on the legislative language on sunday.
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but when reid took the bipartisan, bicameral plan down to the white house, it was rejected by the president." now, i ask my colleagues who is unable to say yes? the democratic majority leader of this body said yes to a bipartisan agreement. the republican speaker of the house of representatives, the leader of that majority in the other body said "yes" to an agreement. senator reid's colleague and friend, the republican leader, senator mcconnell, said "yes" to a bipartisan agreement, and then senator reid was given the task of taking it to the president of the united states, and the president rejected it. i think americans have a right to ask, who is unable to say
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"yes" to a bipartisan deal that gets us out of this box? who is playing politics with this issue? the public debt is $14.2 trillion. we meet the deadline a week from tomorrow. the clock is ticking. the president had an opportunity to say "yes" to a bipartisan agreement endorsed by the leadership of this congress, and yet he said "no." i'm calling on this president, on my president, to do the right thing by the american people and to do the right thing for our country and for our economy and ask this bipartisan group of leaders to come back to the white house and say "yes" to the agreement which they offered him last night. and i thank the president.
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i thank the senator from alabama for allowing me to go in front of him, and i yield the floor. mr. sessions: the senator, before he departs -- the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i know that we've talked about having an opportunity to digest, analyze and score any kind of proposal. i understand this afternoon the majority leader, senator reid, said that he would propose legislation tonight and file cloture apparently tonight. and that would, according to the rules of the senate, move this vote up to wednesday morning early. so, i guess i would ask my experienced colleague, the distinguished member of the house and now in the senate, that really would give us only tomorrow, one day, to digest a bill that supposedly -- not
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supposedly; would indeed impact our spending trajectory for the next decade. does that cause him concern? mr. wicker: i think it absolutely should cause concern. this is something that both parties have campaigned on in the past. the lack of transparency, the lack of time, things being rushed through at the last minute. but my larger point is this, that on friday afternoon the president was calling for a plan, any plan, any plan he said. only one condition: we must be political about it; we must get us past that presidential election in 2012. and then on sunday night when not just any plan was presented to the president, but a bipartisan plan by both leaders in this body on behalf of their
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membership and the republican speaker of the house said we believe we can get this through and the president rejected it out of hand. that is the larger point. but the point of the senator from alabama is well taken. the legislative language is important. the agreement in concept is one thing, but as he is pointing out, the legislative language is also important. and as ranking member of the budget committee, he knows full well that members need time to see if the language actually reduced the concepts into writing that can be enforced and work long term to get us out of this horrendous debt crisis that we're in. i appreciate the gentleman's point. mr. sessions: thank you, senator wicker. i really appreciate that. the point that you've made is tremendously important.
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all year we've conducted senate business with regard to the financial future of our country in the most troubling way, so far as i can tell. it's unlike anything we've done in our history. i would say, from a structural, systemic circumstance, this nation has never had a more serious debt problem. we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. yes, we do have a war going on that's costing $150 billion this year. the deficit this year will be $1.5 trillion. $1.5 trillion in deficit. it's not the war. it's only about 10% of our deficit, unfortunately. back in world war ii, we could see our way out of the war and
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our victory, and we had great growth in the future. but the deficits we're accruing every day, every week, every month are significant because they're going to be hard to change. we're just spending more than we take in on a host of different programs, and we've got to change. and we can change. and if we do change and get this country back on a growth path, i think we'll be in the right, right way. so, i have repeatedly warned that by avoiding going through the budget process this year, a process required by law that this senate, under democratic leadership, explicitly refused to do. the majority leader said it would be foolish to have a budget. we're now about 820 days or so without a budget, over two years we've not had a budget for the united states of america, and
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they never even attempted to, even though a law says we should pass one by april 15. it doesn't put anybody in jail. maybe that's what it should have done. maybe a bunch of people would be in jail today. maybe we'd have a budget if we had some teeth in the act. but it's a statute of the united states that requires a budget. we've not done so. so then we begin to hear the warning six months ago that we would be reaching a point where we need to raise the debt limit, the debt ceiling that we have. congress has said, mr. president, you can borrow money but only so much. you can't borrow more than the amount 14-some-odd trillion dollars. that's all. if you need to borrow more, congress will have to appropriate it. we have the power of the purse under the constitution. so this has been brewing. we've been heading to that. i've been warning since we haven't done our job, since the
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budget committee hasn't met about these issues, the appropriations committee has not met about these issues, the finance committee has not met about the tax, tax and mandatory entitlement programs that are under their jurisdiction; no work has been done all year. none. but we're told not to worry, our leaders are going to meet a few times in secret. and this little group failed. and this group with the vice president met, and that didn't work. and then they're going to meet with the president, and that didn't work. and finally last night, as senator wicker said, it did appear an agreement was reached between the democratic leadership and the republican leadership on a bill that at least would get us past this debt crisis. so they had the leadership agreement. i haven't read it. i don't know what's in it. i'm going to want to know what's in the bill. i have a constitutional responsibility, as do the other
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99, 98 senators here to make a good judgment on it. but it is odd that after all of that and a bipartisan agreement was reached, the president walked away from it. he's going to blame now speaker boehner who produced a budget? the republican house produced a far-reaching historic budget that would actually change the debt trajectory of our country, put us on the right path, the path to restoring prosperity, the creation of jobs because this debt is so large, it's a wet blanket as speaker boehner said. i called it an anchor, a weight that is pulling down the economy because expert economists have told us so. experts say when you have this much debt, you lose a million jobs a year that would otherwise be created. so we've got a serious problem, and i'm not pleased about it. i just felt all along this is exactly what's going to happen,
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somewhere in the back of the minds of the president or the leaders or somebody was the idea that they would bring up a plan at the 11th hour, the 11th hour, 50th minute, bring it to the floor of the senate, say if you don't vote for it members of the senate, if you don't vote for it members of the house, we're going to have a debt crisis and it will all be your fault. well, i'm not in that. i'm not going to vote for any kind of significant legislation as this is until i've had a chance to read it and think about it. and what's going to happen, i'm told, after the majority leader reid produced a one-page summary of his plan, this afternoon told us not to worry; he's got a one-page summary. trust us. he's going to introduce legislation tonight, and we'll vote wednesday morning. and it will be good for america.
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just do what i tell you and go along and mind your manners, and we'll get this thing taken care of. trust me. the american people have been trusting washington too long. the american people know there is no justification whatsoever in this country that we are spending so much money at 40% of it has to be borrowed. they know better. they know we have no business spending $3,700,000,000,000 where we take in only $220,000,000,000. that's what happened in in last election. they say these tea party people, they are not good americans. they're angry. they're mad. that's not good. you're bad people. well, give me a break. if we had a recall election, we all ought to be voted out of
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office, i suppose. there's no way we should ever have been in this situation. so now under the pressure of the american people and fear of the next election, the president -- why did he reject this bipartisan agreement? well, it would require us to meet again next year and talk about more cuts because the cuts they're talking about are clearly insufficient to meet the challenge we are facing today. clearly insufficient. we've got to do more. so if you run up your credit card too much and you hit the limit and you want the limit raised, the person who's loaning the money, the american people, would like it know, have you changed your habits, are you going to do better, let's see budget, a plan that gets us out of this fix. so that has been steadfastly rejected by the leadership in
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this senate all year, and we knew we were heading to this debate. -- to this date. senator reid has thrown something out there. let's talk about a little bit about what it appears that's in it. we've had -- the president has had a friendly press on most of the things that he's proposed. when he proposed a budget, the democratic senate never produced one but by law is to produce one. every pleas ha president has pre every year. the president produced one this year. the lowest annual deficit in that budget would be $740 billion.
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the highest deficit president bush ever had was $450 billion and he was criticized for that. the lowest he would have in ten years, $750 billion, and in the tenth year it's become over $1 trillion. according to the congressional budget office, analysis of his budget. that's where we're heading. that's the kind of thing that the president has submitted to us. and you know what he entad it? he said, i'm proud of my budget. it will have america living within its means. can you believe the president of the united states said that? that a budget that the lowest annual deficit would be $700-plus billion was living within our means? he said also, quote, "it would add no more to our debt." and his budget director, mr. lew, jack lew said the same thing. breath taking.
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so forgive me if i am a a not buying into a proposal on one page. it was produced this afternoon, said we're going to reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion. forgive me if i'm not buying that that until i see it and it's been scored. that's what i think ought to happen here today. by the way, you've heard the debates, and speaker boehner used this phrase and others have used it, "we want to have dollar-for-dollar spending to debt reduction." and what in a means -- excuse me, a debt ceiling increase. twha means is, if you increase the debt ceiling and allow the government to borrow another $1 trillion, you should cut
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spending by $1 trillion. that's just a rough idea. i don't know how they came up with that. that's what they came up with. remember, the debt is still going up every year because we're still spending more than we take in. just remember, however, this is like wimp yivment in old popeye's cartoon. winpy said, give me a hamburger today and i will pay you tomorrow. "what this is is you're going to get an immediate ability to borrow $1 trillion, $2 trillion more, raising debt limit that much on a promise that we'll reduce spending by that amount over ten years, not one year, ten years. so this is a dangerous process. this is the kind of rhetoric that's put us in the position that we are today that 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed. it's what's threatening the financial future of our country, this kind of thinking in
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washington. and we've got to change it. we've got to get honest about our numbers and as the rank republican on the budget committee, i feel an obligation and our staff is eager to see the legislative language, not a one-page outline, about what will actually happen with our spending. we want to be sure that the promises made for this bill are more accurate than the ones president obama made what he said his budget would call for us to live within our means when it plainly does not. i'll just mention a couple of things at this point that jump out at me from the one-page outline that we've seen. majority leader reid talks about his plan would reduce spending by $2.7 trillion.
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but really it appears to represent a $1.2 trillion or so reduction in discretionary spending, and the rest of it is accrued by other -- in other ways. speaker boehner's proposal has a discretionary spending reduction of about the same, but what's obvious is that speaker boehne boehner's commission that would reduce spending more has a target, a goal, to reach an additional $1.8 trillion, whereas the points produced by senator reid mentions a commission, but it has no reduction required in spending as a part of the duty of that commission. they don't have any obligation to produce a reduction in spending.
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but what else is here? part -- the other factor is that we are now drawing down the cost of our military efforts in afghanistan and iraq. last year we spent a little over $150 billion. this year we'll spend a little over $100 billion. and the plan is to soon be down to at least $50 billion in two or three years. so over the ten-year period there'll be about eight years at nearly $50 billion or so spent on the war instead of $150 billion. that's part of the plan that we've been operating on for a long time. $150 billion for the war is not baseline expenditure of the united states. it was never projected to continue at that level, so hopefully we could bring it below $50 billion. maybe we went get to $50 billion. i don't know. but what is the reasonable
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estimate? i think the house republicans and the president said it would drop to $50 billion, and that would be the baseline out there for the rest of the time. that's $1 trillion. that's $1 trillion. so you take $1 trillion out of the $2.7 trillion, you're down to $1.7 trillion. and another thing that's scored in that, since that $1 trillion in war costs is scored the way mr. reid scored that, which is phantom money, it is not a real reduction in baseline government spending. it's always considered to be extra war emergency spending. but he claims interest savings on this money. so another $200 billion. so now you got about $1.2 trillion right there overstating
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his cuts in the elimination of the war. speaker boehner does not do that. his numbers are far more accurate and honest and realistic, really the only way to properly account for them. another thing i would just point out is when you talk about spending and how you account for it, you have to know what the baseline is. one reason this country is broke and is in financial crisis is because we claim we're cutting spending when we're increasing spending. the way it works is, the congressional budget office produces an assumption that we will increase spend at the rate of inflation or some other rate over a period of years. and then if you reduce that rate of increase a little bit, politicians claim they've made savings, they've cut spending. but spending is not cutting.
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spending is still going up. and there are various baselines out there about how to calculate this and it's very significant over ten and even more so over 20 years. so you hear people saying we're cutting spending. under this plan that they're going to cut -- speaker boehner or senator reid, either one of those plans i am confident will show we are spending a good bit more money in the tenth year of their plan than we're spending today. and this is confusing to the american people. i'm really convinced that the only way we can honestly compare the plans is to go back to the basic -- the way families do. do youncrease your spending or you don't increase your spending based on what you spent last year. and we have a flat level and how much do you increase it over one year, two years, ten years?
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how much does it go up? that would be the way to do it, and then you can compare plans. then you can see what senator boehner has, congressman ryan had in his budget plan for ten years, senator toomey proposed a very thoughtful ten-year budget plan, balanced our budget in ten years, not easy toad to do. he did it. we need for thinking like that. and get away from this confusing mishmash and claim that i'm saving $1 trillion when nobody plans for us to be spenting $150 $150-plus billion on the war in iraq and afghanistan for the next ten years. that money has never been projected to be spent in that fashion. so, mr. president, we are in a
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situation where it's important for the country to reach an agreement. we need to pass something that raises the debt ceiling in america. i thiet say that, but that is -- i hate to say that, but that is a fact. it would be too disruptive not to do that. but, in exchange for that, as a part of that process, we truly need to start bringing our house into financial order. we are in disarray and disorder. if we were to do that, we can leave this a better country for our children and grandchildren. i know some just want to surge spending and then raise taxes to pay for it. defense department last year got about a 2% increase, 3% increase. next year it's projected about a
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2% increase in some of the budget numbers. may well not happen because we don't have even that much money. but do you know how much non-defense discretionary spending increased during this time of record deficits under president obama's leadership? not counting the almost $900 billion in stimulus money, not counting that. baseline, non-defense discretionary spending increased 24% at a time we're suferght biggest deficits ever. president bush never had any increases in baseline spending like that. never. it's just stunning. we had a huge majority in the senate, huge majority in the house, the president wanted his investments, and he got these huge increases, and then they want to raise taxes to pay for it and keep it up there and maintain it. and we can't afford maintaining that kind of level. we've got to bring it back down
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to 2009, 2008, 2007 levels. the country is not going to go bankrupt, broke, and people not going to be thrown into the streets if we make -- we return to those kind of levels of spending. and if repaycheck those tough choices like -- and if we make those tough choices like cities and families are doing autumn over america, we can get this house in order. that's what we're going to have to do. so i look forward to studying the plan put forward by the majority leader, the study -- the plan put forward by speaker boehner. the american people need time to know what's in it. what's in either one of them. what it's going to mean to us in terms of taxes and spending and deficits. interest raiments. and then congress needs to have time to vote for it. and i again repeat my deep frustration that we have not
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conducted this in an open, public debate for months now utilizing the established senate procedure, the regular order but have attempted to solve this big problem in secret, behind closed doors with just a few people. i believe that is contrary to the historical understanding of the role of congress and i'm not happy about it, i oppose it and i object to it and i expect an appropriate amount of time to consider whatever plan comes forward. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. this weekend driving around the twin cities, i was listening to public radio. the host of the program introduced a republican member of the house budget committee. the member, who i will not name to spare him or her a great deal
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of embarrassment, was asked about the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling. the member assured the host and listeners that failing to raise the debt ceiling would not create a default for a number of reasons. among them was that, according to this member, that we can pay out all the social security checks to seniors because -- and i quote -- "the money is in the trust fund." well, of course, there are $2.6 trillion of assets in the trust fund but the social security trust fund is composed entirely of treasury notes. allow me to quote from the congressional research service. quote -- "by law, social security revenues credited to the trust fund are invested in nonmarketable u.s. government obligations. these obligations are physical paper documents issued to the
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trust fund and held by the social security administration. when the obligations are redeemed, the treasury must issue a check, a physical document, to the social security trust fund for the interest earned on the obligations." c.r.s. continues, "however, unlike a private trust that may hold a variety of assets and obligations of different borrowers, the social security trust fund can hold only nonmarketable u.s. government obligations. the sale of these obligations by the u.s. government to the social security trust fund is federal government borrowing from itself and counts against the federal debt limit." now, i have no idea what this republican member of the house budget committee believes is in the social security trust fun fund -- stacks of hundred dollar
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bills, goldbricks, warehouses of freezers with steaks in them. to me, it is shocking -- shocking -- that a member of congress, let alone a member of the house budget committee, can be so wildly ignorant of the basic workings of our governme government. we come here to washington to work together to solve our nation's problems. how are we to do that if members are unwilling or unable to come to even the most rudimentary understanding of our government? none of us is immune to making mistakes and yet we find ourselves in this moment of existential crisis with the full
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faith and credit of the united states being held hostage by a mmanagerie of ideologues who invent their own realities and are only too happy to share these fantasies with an unsuspecting public. we are playing with disaster here. can we please just stick to the facts? and the fact is, if we don't act immediately, we will see a downgrade of our credit rating and possibly even default on our debt. both would be entirely counterproductive to our goal of shrinking our deficits and growing our economy. we cannot control the fantasies of clueless ideologues but we must act responsibly and do our
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jobs and we must do it now. thank you, mr. president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i further ask unanimous consent, mr. president, the senate stand
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in recess subject to the call of the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. the senate stands in recess subject to the calling of the subject to the calling of the
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>> if you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, particularly in the congress, it not so hard. c-span is a digital online archive that goes back to 79 or 1987, where you can basically watch anything that abends in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. there are sources of information unimaginable 20 years ago. >> the c-span video library makes it easy to follow washington with instant access to offense to the white house come the committee room in the house and senate chambers. all searchable, shareable and free. the award-winning c-span video library, washington your way.
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>> to nikon president obama will address the nation about the attacks have been in washington, with a response by house speaker john boehner. that is happening live at 9:00 p.m. eastern time here and c-span 2 and also c-span.org. ..ow where sold.books are host: images all over the papers today of same-sex marriage.
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yesterday was the first day it could happen in york. guest: it is very significant for new york and same-sex couples, and the country. same-sex couples can marry in the district of columbia as well. it is incredibly significant. the images we see of loving couples waiting in line to join an institution really sends a signal, not just to people in york coming into the gay and lesbian community, but people all around this country that equality is what the country is built on. host: what do you think of about
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this in other states such as maryland. is what is happening in the york influential? guest: what happens in new york last month -- yesterday was the first day marriage licenses could be issued to same-sex couples. it sends a signal to other states that are contemplating moving on same-sex marriage in maryland on friday, new york was moving toward issuing same-sex marriage licenses. gov. martin o'malley made a bold statement saying he is redoubling his efforts and is calling on the community and the state legislature to move to pass same-sex marriage a legislation.
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other states are commenting proactive measures and ballot initiatives like minnesota. host: comments from the new york, the post standard. it says in new york, same-sex couples will be married and will have benefits under state law including health insurance. as they cross across the border to pennsylvania, their marriage is not valid. how significant and far-reaching is it if other states want to fully recognize this? guest: it overwhelmingly says
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that while couples may be able to get married, but they could be denied. survivor benefits, health insurance, pensions, lots of things that couples enjoy that same-sex couples are denied. in choosing certain marriages over others to promote and a disregard is under equal about the denial of benefits. it is what the repeal of defense of marriage act is all about. as we see more and more states taxing same-sex marriage legislation, insuring that there should be equal benefits for same-sex couples, these are the
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qualities we see. only 5 percent side of couples lived in states where there was some kind of recognition with new york same-sex legislation -- now 46% that have some sort of benefits. when people say this is a quality moving, it is exactly right. host: she has served 11 years as a political director and the first vice-president of the human rights campaign foundation. a a big picture at the top of the new york times today. mayor bloomberg officiating at the wedding of two of his staff members with their families there. how significant is this to see a
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photograph of two men getting married by the mayor of new york city on the front page of the new york times? on one hand it is an incredible marker of how far we have come. gracie mansion is the ceremonial home -- it sends an incredible signal to new york but around the world. when you look at the polls, many support same-sex marriage today when the defense of marriage act was passed into law. it may never have been contemplated many years ago, but it seems like it should happen.
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there were arguments about whether marriage equality was the right thing to do. what is significant about the new york is it is the first state where -- people look at the polling. they look at it by a margin of 60%. the majority of americans support marriage a quality. it shows how a process is being made and it may not have been this way if some people had not fought it. host: john joins us on the phone. caller: wanted to know if the center of american progress was so involved in a right -- gay
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rights for marriage. most of my republican fans believe that being gay is a choice. i know that they bought been candid it says that. some say it is not a choice. i know there is no way that is a choice. is there any study i could use to back of my claims what i argue with the republican friends of mine saying this is not a choice, they would not put themselves through that? i see what congress meant
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bachman is trying to do with that group. where is the information to back that up? host: as a republican, do you believe in gay marriage? caller: absolutely. they should have every right that we have. if they are in a loving relationship, they have every right that we do, insurance issues, except rep. marriage is a state thing, not a religious thing. from a religious point of view, i can see people with moral obligations. as far as the constitution, marriage, it should not matter. guest: indiana has a couple of
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really great points. not just in new york or maryland or across the country, independent and republicans arm -- are moving more to support gay marriage. they are choosing which marriages to recognize and which ones not. you pay into the social security system on your life and you happen to marry your gay partner, you should be able to get those benefits. several of the witnesses talked about the real financial implications of the denial of benefits that they have on their families. they feared losing their homes, because they were denied their
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benefits. this kind of inequity is wrong. michele bachmann talked about whether fiscal engagement is a choice or not. organizations look at mental health issues, the psychological association, psychiatric association, sexual orientation is not a choice. it is something you are born with. the center for american progress is a progressive think tank here in washington that works on a range of issues, economy, health care, and so we do a lot of work on research studies having to do with gay, lesbian,
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transgendered communities. host: any suggestions as to where the caller can go to find out more? guest: the american medical association, the scientists are charged with being at work and can be found on the website. host: gay marriage, a state's rights issue. one person signed with the approval of a gay marriage. perry has been weighing a presidential run says he opposes gay marriage but is a firm believer of the 10th amendment. your reaction to that? guest: it a state chooses to pass same-sex marriage, and they should go ahead and do it. i take issue with governor.
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that that is fine for the york or the district of columbia to have marriage equality for same- sex couples. the problem is federal benefits are denied to those couples. they do not have access to the benefits that come with marriage. you are denied federal benefits. the federal government picking into choosing how they receive these benefits is wrong. host: independent scholar, trenton, new jersey. caller: i am in a bi-national l g b t relationship. i have the opportunity to get married, it means nothing in the federal government, because they do not recognize my relationship
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with my partner. so i cannot have of my partner as my spouse like any other straight couple. it is very frustrating with seeing all of this progress, and yet, for me, it would be horrible for us to get married, unless we did something illegal, which we do not want to do. we cannot be together. that is the bottom line. what is being addressed right now? there is some legislation on trying to get rid of doma. guest: it is a great question. it is one of the benefits that comes with marriage and that you can be treated like other heterosexual couples that get married and your spouse is
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treated as a citizen. it is one of the problems that comes with the denial of federal benefits. others will address this issue. i do not think the legislation will pass anytime soon. one of the challenges is the families are torn apart. they want the same rights and benefits and responsibilities as other couples, and they are denied because of their sexual orientation. host: boehner says he wants to defend the defense of marriage act. guest: the control of the house of representatives in republican hands poses a huge problem.
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there is a respect for marriage act -- there are other ways and avenues the country into the nation, addressing the question of same-sex marriage, there is a court case out of california involved with proposition 8 that hits two former antagonistic now as protagonists and have now joined in a marriage equality case out of california. there are other cases that are challenging to the defense of marriage act as well. host: what do you see the significance of between what a legislature does, and governor
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does, and what the voters say? how significant is it in a state does not want to see same-sex marriages in a popular vote? guest: what you have seen over time, the republican and democrat independent legislators that voted for same-sex marriages in 2008, prop. 8 was passed with a huge disappointment for marriage a quality. times have changed in the three years or so. generally in this country, the rates of minority are not put up for a popular vote and those rights are mostly left to the courts. we see in california that the courts will remedy the situation.
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host: gainesville, florida. caller: there have been great ma.rings right now on dolm the republicans are now saying something that is a gimmick to keep people aware of it and give the idea that they're all for rights of the people, because there is a loophole. it kind of made my point right now that 60% of americans are for recognizing marriage for whoever it is. i do not think it should be left up to the public and brings up the issue with civil rights. it should be evident in proposition 8.
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as we look back in history in slavery, the rights of people would not have ended in this country if -- they need to be represented as equals in this country. it is kind of a foolish to say we are finally getting the majority of people and it needs to be dealt with as an equal rights issue. guest: i think the courts will ultimately decide in california in the prop. 8 case. there are multiple strategies used in this fight. we got to work on the court of public opinion, the
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legislature, i think the caller's point about the situation is useful. if you look back in 1967, when the decision was handed down into struck down the loss that prevented the black and white people from getting married, 70% of the american people, were opposed to the supreme court's decision. they still thought african- americans and whites should not marry. these are issues that should not be put up to it -- that should be put up to the people to decide. host: take a listen to public policy president, talking about the implications of the defense
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of marriage act. take a listen. >> the section two is that section of doma that excuses state from being required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. these are the states that have overwhelmingly determined what marriage is. overwhelmingly, they had voted for that. same-sex marriages performed elsewhere will have to be recognized in those states that have determined that marriage is what it has always been. force political correctness, which can get downright nasty.
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host: what do you think about this concern over a backlash for people that do not believe that marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples. guest: when you take a look at the states that have merit on the books for same-sex couples, mass. for example -- they had it on the books for seven years. where is the backlash, this notion that there has to be political correctness? we have not seen it, the anticipated from the proponents of same-sex marriage, the notion that a heterosexual marriage will suddenly fall apart. none of those horror stories
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happened when you take a look at vermont, or connecticut or the district of columbia. i want to remind people to look at the facts when they are in gear that this will be for political correctness or that somehow traditional marriages will be undermined. it just does not happen. host: a piece called the chilling of our first amendment rights where people who are against gay marriage are getting some pullback facing discriminatory actions toward them. how did you make sure there is a dialogue that has a tone -- are you concerned about the tone of the dialogue? one might argue that the tables
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are turned and many supporters of gay rights are ridicule and have not faced discrimination themselves? guest: the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples is not an easy one for everyone. it is about a journey into the american public grappling with a new issue for a lot of people. that is ok. i disagree with maggie gallagher over the other witnesses from last week from those that oppose same-sex marriage equality. they are entitled to their opinions and their journey on this issue, as we have seen with many people. look at the president, evolving in this issue. at the end of the day, the american people are fair, equal, and do not want to see
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themselves discriminated against. we will get to the right place. i am not fearful of this debate, because i have great faith in the country. host: the president has talked about his position on gay- rights game marriage devolving. one person said my opinion has not evolved. i am not there yet. does that imply that there is more of an acceptance on this position? guest: evolution is about moving forward. this country is about moving forward. i am confident that we are getting in the right place. when looking at the polling and the different constituents, far more young people support same-
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sex marriage ban used to. people's views are evolving as more people are coming out and they are being out as couples raising children. but marriage provides a lot of security the gay and lesbian couples. as neighbors understand that friends around the block happen to be gay, have kids, and are sending to children -- sending a message to their children, they want the same kind of coverage. host: moore, oklahoma. how are you doing this morning? caller: good, thank you. to me, this is about survivor rights. social security, and the survivor rights of unemployment.
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i think this is a money issue more than anything else. the gay and lesbian community has the right to enter into other legal contract, cd's, cars, housing, and they can even adopt children. i do not feel like i have to pay for them to enjoy the rights that i have as a married couple. guest: social security is certainly in the news these days in the debate about capitol hill strengthening it to shore up entitlements goes to the caller's concerns ensuring that social security and other benefits will be there for all us when we retire and need them for our children. it is the same for a gay and lesbian couple. it is just not right for them to pay and to the social security system for their entire lives and then not be able to receive
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the survivor benefits that they deserve. again, last week's hearing had a couple of stories and witnesses of people who had paid into the system their entire lives and were denied at the death of their spouse. thousands and thousands of dollars, and in this economy, we all know those dollars are desperately needed for families around this country. denying them to a gay and lesbian couple simply because of who they are is wrong and will change. host: detroit on the independent line. welcome. caller: i think this comedowns to semantics. what is marriage? where did it originate? it is a religious institution. calling it "marriage," i heard a gate and lesbian -- a gay and lesbian say you could "marry"
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sauces but not oil and water. the natural state is heterosexual and it promotes the propagation of society's and families. when the unnatural communities want to call it "marriage," people are fed and then when they know the origination of the marriage is in god's institutions of a one-man, one woman, becoming one to promote society and grow a population. host: what do you think of civil unions instead of using the word "marriage/" caller: i think the whole gay and lesbian, they call it progress. what are we progressing too? you want to call it "marriage"
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and perverted, take it away from where its original purpose and want to call gays and lesbians marry? it makes no sense. guest: marriages an institution that is one of the bedrocks, not just of american society, but of a civilization. is an institution that the gay and lesbian community wants to join. over 100 degrees sweltering heat in new york, gay and lesbian couples from all over the state wanting to join this institution to take care of their families. that is what marriage is about. the caller raises the point that marriage is at least two things. there is a contract, the rights, benefits, and responsibilities, that go to a couple when they
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are married. it can also be, although there does to become a religious element to marriage. but you look at the language signed by gov. cuomo or the other legislation is pending, there is nothing in the legislation or ballot measures that says a religious institution or a person of faith has to perform a marriage for a same-sex couple. that is just not true. the rights, benefits come and responsibilities that flow through marriage and then there is the religious part. no one is saying that anyone in a church, and moscow, or in a tumble last perform -- a mosque or a temple. host: winnie stachelberg is with the center for american progress. something else that is being
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talked about now is for gay men and women to serve openly in the military. we saw some news on friday. talk this through what is happening. guest: the president, the new secretary of defense leon panetta, and the joint chiefs of staff certified the military to say that the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, in other words having openly gay people serving will not hurt recruitment and will make the best military in the world stronger. we will continue to fight for our defense. what that certification was predicated on was legislation that was passed by congress last december in 2010 overwhelmingly, republicans and democrats coming together under the leadership of senator lieberman, congressmen patrick
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murphy, speaker pelosi, steny hoyer, and others. being gay and serving in the military does not hurt recruitment or retention. it repeals a law that was signed 17 years ago. last friday was the certification and the results of the military extensive training of all of the military of what open service means for the military themselves. certification happens now and there is a 60-day waiting period. on september 20th, 2011, the repeal will be final and service members will be able to serve openly. host: let's look at marine general hummer. >> statements about sexual orientation will no longer be a bar to military service.
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we will no longer separate service members under don't ask, don't tell. former service members formally discharged may reapply for reentry. with regards to the recessions of openly gay or lesbian service members will be evaluated to the same standards as all other applicants. host: marine general hummer. our guest, winnie stachelberg, is with the center for american progress where she oversees the lesbian, gay, and trans-gender project. arlington, virginia, democratic caller. good morning. caller: thank you. thank you, ms. stachelberg. i am a gay military officer. my partner is also in the military.
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to what extent do you think of the repeal of don't ask, don't tell was to repeal doma? we cannot be stationed together and so forth, but when i was going through the training i asked this question of the jag officer. we are forced, as military people come to make the choice between perjury and fraud. if i fill out a form asking for marital status and i married in a state where it was legal, i could collect federal entitlements, which would be fraud, so i have to write "single" and i am legally married. it does not seem like a good choice to have to make a choice between fraud and perjury. guest: the caller's question
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goes to the heart of the debate of round don't ask, don't tell when admiral mullen said at a hearing that it undermined the integrity of the united states military because it forced are brave men and women to lie. that is not what our military is about and so that will change. the repeal, when it finally happens in the repeal has significantly improved and it changed the discussion for same- sex couples. you can see how in polling increase for support for same- sex couples has grown around the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. it showed the gay and lesbian community as it is, brave men and women in the military, neighbors, parents, family
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members. and that is why i'm not nervous about the discussion and going up against proponents of same- sex marriage. the debate around don't ask, don't tell and its final appeal will be good for the debate around same-sex marriage quality. your question about filling out these forms is exactly right. i caution you not to fill them out as honest as you should until september 20th, 2011, but the problem is if you were stationed in massachusetts and you were married, n.y., or any other locality that has marriage quality, is why the defense of america act will fall. but the denial of benefits for our brave men and women who are fighting, the denial of benefits who rely on survivor benefits, health insurance,
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pension funds is wrong and that is what the defense of marriage act does. it denies them to american citizens. this country should not be about picking which marriages should be recognized and which ones should not. host: david in columbus, ohio. welcome. caller: i think i can shed some light on some of the confusion concerning the opponents of gay activism and their lifestyle. i think most people, including myself, would have no problems with several unions and things like that. where it comes down to is i think we can accept it, but you are asking us to approve of it. there is a difference. i think itarriage," was the caller from michigan that said we are scared to death that churches will be sued
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because they will not perform marriages today parties because that is against their beliefs. -- marriages for gay parties because it is against thetir beliefs. host: from twitter -- guest: civil unions denied the federal benefits. the symbol of unions that were in vermont before it passed in connecticut, you were denied federal benefits. the defense of marriage act denies them for everyone, so even if you have a state- sanctioned marriage, this federal benefits are denied. a civil union is not the same as a marriage, not only in the board, but the benefits conferred on to the couple. that is the real problem. i just want to address something
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else the caller raised. it is again why i am optimistic for marriage quality -- eqauuality. the gay and lesbian community and our allies are not seeking support. quite frankly, they're not even seeking approval. what the gay and lesbian community is seeking a lack of opposition. when you take a look at, again, the states that have had marriage equality were the gay and lesbian community has received marriage licenses, the caller's concern about lawsuits for churches nonperforming same- sex marriages, it just has not happened. while, again, i want to say this is new for a lot of people and that is okay to raise these issues which makes perfect sense, which is what our country was founded on, debate and
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democracy. when you look at the state where there is currently same-sex marriage, the anticipated problems do not pan out. churches are not being sued and the institution of marriage is not, at all, undermined. host: last caller. good morning. caller: i have been in in a lesbian relationship for 35 years and i have contributed to my relationship, my family, and their needs. i do not mean just my immediate family. my question is what is being done to educate the public in the decency of these relationships and the contribution to this society that gays and lesbians do make every single day of their lives? we have teachers in my community, judges, lawyers, engineers, doctors, people who
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have had these relationships for years, and years, and have been forced by an irrational majority to keep their lives in secret, to lie to their parents and friends and to pretend that they are something that they're not. what are you doing to educate the public? i think you're doing a wonderful job, but i would like to know what is being done in these communities to go out there and show that marriage is meant to be for people who love each other and want to enter into a contractual relationship with each other? host: what would it mean for you to be able to get married? caller: to be able to share my life with other people who are my family and friends. it would be a statement. it is a testimony to what a life
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committed to each other and all the things that we've worked for. our retirement, social security. we have had to find alternate ways to protect our wealth, the work we have done for years, to enter into contracts, corporations, things that do not mean anything other than what marriage is fundamentally, which is a contract between two people to love each other and to protect each other in this long journey that we call life. guest: i could not have said it any better. shows like this on c-span, calls like yours, the strength that you and your partner, your family have, people coming out and telling their stories. that is why i think the debate about a marriage of equality, the debate about repealing don't ask, don't tell, the debate about discrimination act where it is perfectly legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation with no recourse,
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this debate is so important to raise the issues to an able the gay, lesbian, and trans-gender community to talk about what is at stake, the inequality, the differences between a civil union and a marriage. this is not about forcing religious institutions in any way. this is the debate we need to have. the hearing last week with the judiciary committee, the debate in new york that got ugly at times and had people protesting in albany, all of these things are what brings s this country clost there's no sign of an agreement. to talk us through what is going on regarding potential deals to raise the debt limit and bring down the national debt, we have on the phone, alexander bolton,
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a staff writer for "the hill." thank you for joining us. take us where we are it this morning. there's a lot of talk shows speaker boehner and president obama had hoped to see something hammered out by last night. that did not happen. where do we stand this morning? >> talks have broken down. now the senate democrats and house republicans are on different paths. it looks like leaders in both chambers are pursuing the strategy of passing legislation to raise the debt limit that the other side is not going to like, then sending it across the capitol to the other chamber, during their fellows in the other chamber to vote it down. what harry reid is putting together is trying to put together something that would raise the debt ceiling by $2.40 trillion, which is what is needed to take a spin on the 2012 election.
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he has already identified one puff $5 trillion in spending cuts and now needs to find another -- $1.50 trillion in spending cuts. we do not know exactly what is going to do, but is expected he is going to count winding down the war in afghanistan as a substantial part of the savings. that could be worth about $1 trillion over 10 years. meanwhile, john boehner is working on his own deficit- reduction debt limit increase plan. he would take -- that plan would be affected in two stages. the first would be $900 trillion or so deficit reduction package, spending cuts, paired with roughly equal amount in debt limit increase. then he would empower a special
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committee to find an additional $1.60 trillion to authorize or trigger another increase in the debt ceiling. the problem with this proposal, however, it would require raising the debt ceiling by the requisite $2.40 trillion amount into the stages. that is something the president and democratic leaders after yesterday's said is a nonstarter. they say it would create too much uncertainty for the marketplace and the economy if this process had to be replaced at the beginning of next year or summer of next year. >> the house republicans made their own at last it with a cap and balance plan that did not make it to the senate. the president has said he would have vetoed it anyway. is this seen as sort of a
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retread of the house republicans going their own way regardless of the lack of support in the other chamber? guest: well, yes, that is true. it is to the democrats are moving in with the plan that is not likely to have support in the lower chamber. this game of chicken has continued and will likely continue through the end of the week unless there is a negotiated compromise. right now, both chambers are moving on separate tracks. i think they're both thinking, once we send our pass our plan and send it to the other chamber, it will have a tough time voting it down. and if they do, they can be blamed for stalling the economy, causing a national default. the two chambers are on a collision course right now. on the other hand, they or continuing to talk on the scene. they realize they do not want to have -- they realize both parties will be blamed and it is
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bad for pretty much everyone if there is an economic disaster as a result of failure to reach an agreement. john boehner and harry reid are talking and will talk around the clock. they have a pretty strong relationship. they established some trust in april when they worked to avoid the government shutdown because of the impasse of the 2011 spending bill. or spending levels. they will continue to try to find a negotiated compromise. but they are living on separate tracks. host: is there a chance a short- term deal could surface? many folks involved said they prefer not to see that happen, but might that be a more realistic alternative to plans that developing in the house and senate? guest: white house chief of staff said yesterday obama would veto that. obama has been firmed throughout
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this debate he would veto a short-term debt limit increase. the problem from the standpoint of the administration is if you think it is tough now to get this increased, imagine in an election year? it will be even tougher. they do not want this fight next year. republicans are happy to have this fight again next year, something they can campaign on for november 2012. yes, it is something republicans are we want and they will be pushing this week. obama has been firm. he will veto a short-term increase in the debt limit. host: publications have reported the white house was patel -- a relatively lying low. the president did meet with the democratic leaders. after on friday, he was heard a lot less this weekend. how much of the activity took place among the members of congress versus over in the white house? do you expect to see that
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pattern continued this week? guest: well, you are right. the president played a lower public role, less of an active public role this weekend. on the other hand, at the end of the weekend, nancy pelosi and harry reid met with him and talk the bottom line. he is very much involved. whatever passes both chambers of congress will have to pass the president. obama may take a lower profile public glee as he has brought much of the debt limit debate, -- publicly ses threat much of the debt limit debate. i think he prefers -- i did his preferred scenario is to have democrats and republicans duking it out in the congress and then he can, in as the reconcile our,
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conciliator, father figure and, in and use his leverage, which is best saved until the end. that is something he did in april when he stepped in for late in the process to create the settlement between republicans and democrats on avoiding a government shutdown. host: how you feel the mood is in the capital? members will be returning -- you are working this week to see what was going on the leadership, but how is the general mood compared to a week ago? this tension ramping up or has it been steady for the last little while? guest: the changing noticed is democrats are getting increasingly angry. they have sort of been casting about for what their position should be in this debate. they have had a problem with the unity on some issues of the
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deficit reduction. as republicans continue to drive a hard bargain, the democrats are becoming more angry and beginning to coalesce. they're becoming less trustful or less trusting of the president to basically back them up or push for the outcome that they want to see. democrats are certainly getting angrier and feistier. republicans have been unified to date, but it will be interesting to see if they remain unified. speaker boehner will be meeting with this conference today and will have to sell them on the two-stage debt limit increase i discussed. that is not popular or will not be popular to many conservatives. in fact, at the end of last week, senate and house conservatives were talking about a plan to put a cap -- put cut,
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cap and balance back on the floor. the remains a sizable faction of house conservatives who want to insist on that cut, cap and balance plan, which would require the passage of a balanced amendment before raising the debt ceiling. as to get closer to the deadline, i could republicans more toward the center of the ideological spectrum will be more willing to compromise and more willing to use or take an alternative path committee along the lines of what speaker boehner has proposed. boehner has a pretty big job on his hands of maintaining that republican unity that we have seen so far at a time when
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the point that you've made is tremendously important. all year we've conducted senate ol year we've conducted senate with regard to the financial future of our country in the mostount troubling way so far ai can tell. it is unlike anything we have done in our history. i would say from a structural, systemic circumstance, this nation has never had a more serious debt problem. we are borrowing 40 cents ofts
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every dollar we spend. yes we do have a war going on that is costing $150 billion this year. this the deficit this year will be $1,500,000,000,000. one wind $5 trillion in deficit. it is not the war. triio thatn is only about 10% of our deficit unfortunately. back in world war ii, we could see our way out of the war and air victory and we had great growth in the future, but the w debt that we are accruing every day, every week, every month ari significant because they are going to be hard tocaey're chan. we are spending more than me him on a host of different programs and we have got too change.ch and we can change, and it wouldo change if we do change and get this country on a growth path i think we will be on a right way. so, have repeatedly warned that
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by avoiding going through the budget process process required by law, that the senate on the democratic leadership explicitly refused to do. majority leader said it would be it budget.boutma we now have about 820 days or so without a budget.rs for over two years we have not had h a budget for the united states of american they never attempted to, even though i law says we should pass one by o april 15?'t p it doesn't put anybody in jail.s maybe that is what it should have done. may be a be in jail today. maybe we would have a budget if we had somet teeth in the act, but it is the statute of the united states that requires as budget. we have not done so so then we o began to hear the warning six months ago that we would bebe rh reaching a point where we need to raise the debt limit, the,
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debt ceiling that we have. congress has said mr. president you can borrow money but only so much. you can o borrow more than the amount, 14 some odd trillion dollars. triio that is all.dolls. if you need to borrow more congress will have toifss wl h appropriated. we have purse under theower constitutio so this has been brewing. heang we have been heading to that. i have been warning since we haven't done our job that the budgete committee hasn't metse about these issues. the appropriations committee has not met about these issues in the finance committee has not met about the tax and -- tax and mandatory entitlement programs r that under their jurisdiction. none. but we are told not our leaders are going to meet a few times in secret and this little group and this group of
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the vice president met and that didn't work and then they were going to meet with the president backed in that didn't work and finally last night as senator wicker said it did appear in agreementbe was reached between the democratic leadership and the republican leadership on a bill that at least would get us past this debt crisis so they ta had the leadership agreement.avr i haven't read it.eaknow i don't don't know what is in it. i'm going to want to know what is in the bill. i have a constitutional responsibility as do the 98 senators here. but it is odd that after all bii that in a bipartisan agreement was walked away from it and he is going to blame nowway speaker vayner? who produced a the republican house produced a far-reaching historic budget that would actually change the debtt put us on the right path, the path to restoring prosperity,thc
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the creation of jobs because the this bed is so large it is a red blanket as speaker boehner said. i called in and, anc a wave thas pulling down the economy because the ominous have told us so as s you please of an itself will have is that the minds of the president is somebody was to give you a the 11th hour ofhe the 11th hour the 50th minute, bforing it to the floors
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florida senate floor as he is ig that are of a crisis in all p fault. a well, and that. i'm going to vote for any kind of legislation is, i will is easy to needed to reduce their and, this afternoon for this afternoon for you. youthe am please is and is in te night and you would the morninge itr will be good for america to do what i tell you and telephone andf mind your manners and you f this is your the american people
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have invested monforte the american people know that there is no justification whatsoever in this country that we are spending so much money as 40% of the four. they know better. they no we have oy not business sending $3,700,000,000,000 clearly taking taken only in $2,200,000,000,000. that is what happened in this last l is that people think of him as he is if we had a recall election recently voted to you is you ever have been in thisr f situation. the cuts they are talking aboute are clearly
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to meet the challenge we are facing today clearly insufficient. we've got to do more. so if you run up your credit card too much and you hit the limit and you want the limit raised, the person who's loaning the money, the american people, would like it know, have you changed your habits, are you going to do better, let's see budget, a plan that gets us out of this fix. so that has been steadfastly rejected by the leadership in this senate all year, and we knew we were heading to this debate. -- to this date. senator reid has thrown something out there. let's talk about a little bit about what it appears that's in it.
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we've had -- the president has had a friendly press on most of the things that he's proposed. when he proposed a budget, the democratic senate never produced one but by law is to produce one. every pleas ha president has pre every year. the president produced one this year. the lowest annual deficit in that budget would be $740 billion. the highest deficit president bush ever had was $450 billion and he was criticized for that. the lowest he would have in ten years, $750 billion, and in the tenth year it's become over $1 trillion. according to the congressional budget office, analysis of his budget. that's where we're heading. that's the kind of thing that the president has submitted to us. and you know what he entad it? he said, i'm proud of my budget. it will have america living
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within its means. can you believe the president of the united states said that? that a budget that the lowest annual deficit would be $700-plus billion was living within our means? he said also, quote, "it would add no more to our debt." and his budget director, mr. lew, jack lew said the same thing. breath taking. so forgive me if i am a a not buying into a proposal on one page. it was produced this afternoon, said we're going to reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion. forgive me if i'm not buying that that until i see it and it's been scored. that's what i think ought to happen here today. by the way, you've heard the
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debates, and speaker boehner used this phrase and others have used it, "we want to have dollar-for-dollar spending to debt reduction." and what in a means -- excuse me, a debt ceiling increase. twha means is, if you increase the debt ceiling and allow the government to borrow another $1 trillion, you should cut spending by $1 trillion. that's just a rough idea. i don't know how they came up with that. that's what they came up with. remember, the debt is still going up every year because we're still spending more than we take in. just remember, however, this is like wimp yivment in old popeye's cartoon. winpy said, give me a hamburger today and i will pay you tomorrow. "what this is is you're going to
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get an immediate ability to borrow $1 trillion, $2 trillion more, raising debt limit that much on a promise that we'll reduce spending by that amount over ten years, not one year, ten years. so this is a dangerous process. this is the kind of rhetoric that's put us in the position that we are today that 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed. it's what's threatening the financial future of our country, this kind of thinking in washington. and we've got to change it. we've got to get honest about our numbers and as the rank republican on the budget committee, i feel an obligation and our staff is eager to see the legislative language, not a one-page outline, about what will actually happen with our spending. we want to be sure that the promises made for this bill are promises made for this bill are
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when he said his budget would call for us to live within our means when he plainly does not. i will just mention a couple of things at this point that jump out at me from the one-page outline that we have seen. majority leader reed talks aboud his plan that would reduce spending by $2.7 trillion, but really, it appears to represent a $1.2 trillion or so reduction indu discretionary spending, and the rest of it is accrued by other -- in other ways. speakerea boehner's proposal has discretionary spending reduction of about the same.ha but, what is obvious is that bhn
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speaker boehner's commission that would reduce spending more as a target, a goal to reach an additional $1.8 trillion, whereas the point produced by senator reed mentions a commission but it has no production required in spending asart a part of the duty of tht commission. higatn they don't have any obligation to produce a reduction in spending. but what else is here? the other or is that we are nowf drawing down the cost of our military effort in afghanistan andgh iraq. last year we spend a little over $150 billion. .his year we will spend a little over $100 billion the plan is to say and be down to at least $50 billionwo in two or three years. over the ten-year 10 year period will be
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at 50 or so billion dollars t spent on the war instead of 150. that is part of the plan that wn have been operating on for a longlo time.illi f $150 billion for the war is note the baseline expenditure of the united states.o it was never projected to continue atco that level. so hopefully we can bring it below the 50 billion.be maybe welow $50 won't get to to 50 billion.ion. i don't know. k reasonable estimate? i think on the house republicans and the president said would drop to $50 billion in that and that would be the baseline out there are for the rest of the time. that is a trillion dollars. that is a trillion dollars. $ so you take a trillion dollars out of the 2.7 and you are down to 1.7. and another thing since that trillion dollars in war costs is
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scored the way mr. reed scored reed scored that, which is spent on money. a is not a real reduction in baselineion government spending. i always consider it to the extra war emergency spending.ngs on this money, another 200 billions and now you have gotigt about $1.2 trillion right there overstating his cuts in the war elimination of the war. speaker boehner does notea do that. his numbers are farhis num more accurate and honest and realistic. really the only account for them. another thing i would point out is that when you talk about spending and how y you account e it, you have to know what the baseline is. one reason this country is roqui roque -- broke and in financial
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crisis is because we claim we are cutting spending when we are increasingendi spending. the way it works is, the congressional budget office produces anna assumption that we will increase spending at the otherf inflation or some rate over a period of years. you and then if you reduce that rate of increase a little bit, theve politicians claim they have made savings. they have cut spending. but spending is not cut. spending is still going up. and they are very baseline about how to calculate this. it is very significant over 10 and even more so over 20 years. so you heareo people saying we e cutting spending under this plan that they are going to cut speaker boehner or senator reed, either one of those plants i'm confident we'll show we are spending a good bit more money
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the tenth year of their plan then we are spending w today. this is confusing to them american people. i am really convinced that the c only way we can honestly compare the plan is to go back to theaml basic, the way families do. do you increase your spending os you don't increase your spending based on what you spent lastpena year. if you have a flat level and hoe much do you increase it over one year, two years or 10 years? how much does it go up?an that would be the way to do it and then you can compare plans. than then you can see what boehner has an congressman ryan has in his budget plan for 10 years. senator toomey proposed a very thoughtful ten-year budget plan balanced by a budget in 10 years. not easy to do. he did it. we need to be thinking like that. and get awayand from this confua
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mishmash and claim that i am saving a trillion dollars when nobody plans for us to be spending $150 billion plus on the war in iraq and afghanistan for the next 10 years. that m boney has never been in projected to being spent in that fashion. so, mr. president, we are in att situation where it is important agreement. we need to pass something that raises the debt ceiling in thi s america. t i hate to say that but that is a fact.it w it would be too disruptive not to do that.xc but, in exchange for that, as aa part of thatrt process, we truly need to start bringing our house into financial border.
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we are in disarray andif discourse. if we were to do that, we coulds leave this a better country for our children and grandchildren. i know some just want to start spending and then raise taxes to pay for it. the defense department last year got about a 2% increase, 3%crea. increase.ctedbo next year it is projectedut at about a 2% increase on some of the budget numbers. it may well not happen because we don't have even that much money but do you know how much. >> the senate has been inoh, you recess. we now return to live gavel-to-gavel coverage.than >> mr. chairman patience also. willing to be here when most are doing other things. doing other things. willing to be here when most or doing other things.ort t what is the pending business?hen
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the clerk will reportda the pending business. 132 >> calendar number three s. 1323 bill to express the texas senati on shared sacrifice and resolving the budgetes deficit.n >> i ask consent to vitiate the actionnd with respect to theo pending amendment and the motion to commit to as 1323.ing motio >> without objection. >> i now throw the pending motion tor: t commit. >> i have an amendment at the ae desk.me >> the clerk will report amendment numbered 581. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. mr. reid: the yeas and nays are ordered, mr. president? the presiding officer: the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 582 to amendment numbered 581. mr. reid: i have a motion to commit the bill with instructions which is also at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, moves to commit the bill, s. 1323, to the committee on finance with instructions to report back forthwith with an amendment being amendment number 583. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that motion. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. mr. reid: i have an amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. mr. reid: now, mr. president, i'm sorry. i may have not been listening closely enough. did you order the yeas and nays? the presiding officer: the yeas and nays have been ordered. mr. reid: i have an amendment to the instructions at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 584 to. reidd
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nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 585 to amendment numbered 584. mr. reid: mr. president, what we have done is put in the process our efforts, sound legislation to end the budget crisis we're in. it, in effect, does everything the republicans have asked. it is dollar-for-dollar -- that is, it increases the amount of spending cuts that we make to arrive at $2.7 trillion, which, in effect, would carry the country into sometime in 2013.
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it is consistent -- it consists of things, i indicated, the republicans have agreed upon. discretionary spending, $1.2 trillion. mandatory, $100 billion. a -- something called an overseas contingency fund, which is war fighting, that is scored both by c.b.o. and the office of management and budget to the tune of about a trillion dolla dollars. that saves about $400 billion in interest. that's $2.7 trillion. there are other issues in this matter, including allow us to finish our appropriation bills for the next two years. we have a joint committee that will allow us to work to do more for long term. so it's a sound piece of legislation. and as i indicated, mr. president, the -- virtually everything we have in there has been suggested by the republicans and now they need to
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take "yes" for an answer. we've given them yes. for example, the overseas contingency fund, this passed the house of representatives with five republicans voting "no." 230 approximately republicans voted yes "yes." over here in the senate, the same thing came up, 40 republicans voted for it. so we should move on. but, mr. president, the sad part is that it appears that my friends in the house of representatives are being led by a very determined group to have us default on our debt. they're driven by probably 80 republicans that seem to be calling the shots. it's unfortunate. we cannot have a short-term extension. that's what their legislation that the speaker indicated he was going to send to us today. it will not -- every democrat, not virtually every democrat, every democrat will vote against that legislation. the president, if there was some way it passed, which it won't,
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would veto it. they are wasting the time of the american people. now is the time to do what legislators must do and that's compromise. but my friends in the house, they don't even have to compromise. all they have to do is say "yes" because we've given them what they've asked for. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. on tuesday, july 26. that following the prayer and the pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. that following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business until 2:15 -- 12:15 p.m. with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders their designees. with the majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the republicans controlling the second 30 minutes. and that following morning business, the senate proceed to executive session under the previous order. and that the senate recess following the roll call votes on
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the engelmayer nomination until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. finally, i ask at 2:15, the senate resume consideration of s. 1323, which is the legislative vehicle for the debt limit increase. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, there will be a roll call vote on confirmation of engelmayer tomorrow at 12:15. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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next a discussion on the deficit reduction talks and the looming august 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling. former u.s. comptroller general david walker was a guest on this morning's "washington journal." this runs about 40 minutes.r an walker joins us from new york city.om is the former u.s. comptroller ceoral and now founder and of the comeback american initiative. good morning. >> guest: good to be with you. e
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august 2nd deadline of hitting a possible debt default. what do you think is going on right now and are concerned there is not a deal in place yet? guest: i am concerned. if everybody is true to their word, and congressional leaders of both parties and the president, they will reach a deal at the last minute. they have all made a commitment to the american people that they will raise the debt ceiling and not the fall. what we're seeing now is they're coming down to the 11th hour, which i think is inappropriate, but typical for washington. the democrats are trying to get as good of the deal as they can and so are the republicans. if they do not reach a deal, they should be held accountable. it is irresponsible not to raise the debt ceiling limit. at the same time, we need to start putting our finances in order. host: has seven in the economic
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fallout, do have concerns a deal has not been reached -- has there been an economic fallout, anti you have concerns the deal is not been reached? guest: callers have already started to adjust their behavior. if enough people start to do that, it could have an economic and pack. i think the markets have not reacted to an extensive because they believe the elected officials will deliver on their commitment, that there will be a deal. here is the key. it is not just a matter of raising the debt ceiling limit. it is whether or not they do something meaningful to demonstrate to the credit rating agencies, to the farm lenders, and the american people that they will start taking steps to put our finances in order because they are out of control right now. host: i'm going to read from an abc news piece online. some people can leaders are doubtful armageddon-like consequences will come to pass. they say they're not afraid of the deadline.
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republican allen west put it, or in the words of jim jordan, ohio, it is not like the world in august 2nd. what is your interpretation of this message? other house republicans have echoed the opinion there is nothing to be concerned about. what is your message to them? guest: the truth is, nobody knows for sure what will happen if the largest economy on earth, the world's temporary superpower, 60% of the currency, has a technical default and has to decide which bills it will pay in which it will not pay. filipinos. the fact is, those statements are totally irresponsible. when the world would you want to pay with a tactical nuclear weapon? that is what we're dealing with. we do not know what will happen if it goes off. at least we are experimenting with real nuclear weapons but we have not experimented with this.
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those statements are irresponsible. host: david walker is our guest. here are the phone numbers to call to join the conversation -- host: if you manage to get through on the funds, turn down your tv. -- if you manage to get through, turn down your tv. david walker, what is the scenario you like to see happen next couple of weeks? you have laid out some possible ideas, some solutions to this situation. what would you ideally like to see happen? guest: i think we have to be realistic with regard to what can happen before the 2012 election. both parties have a different view about how to put our nation's finances in order.
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right or wrong, significant number of republicans have taken the pledge dealing with taxes. interestingly, we can achieve comprehensive tax reform that will end up generating more revenues as part of running the base, lowering rates that will generate more revenues and not violate that pledge. but we cannot do that before the 2012 election. we're going to have to reach an agreement to increase the debt ceiling limit, hopefully, enough to get is passed the 2012 election. in exchange for specific cuts that will equal or exceed that. we cannot please get $1 trillion at of defense over the next 10 years, at least $1 trillion out of health care and other expenses including interest expense, and lots of ideas are laid out in restoring fiscal sanity report.
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ultimately, we will mean more revenue. those revenues will have to come as part of comprehensive tax reform. realistically, that will not happen until after the 2012 elections. host: in coming from twitter. guest: we do talk about drawn down forces in southwest asia to 45,000 of the end of 2014 under a pre-emptive scenario. if a of a debt crisis, we will have to draw down a lot faster. we could save a lot of money from reducing our presence in southwest asia. but the pentagon has become a bloated bureaucracy. it has a tremendous amount of overhead. there are a number of other ideas that would allow us to be of a cut tremendous sums from defense without compromising national security. >host: republican line, north carolina.
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caller: i would love for everyone to go out there today and bought the book by ann rand in 1957, depicting a exactly what is happening today. if you keep penalizing the producers, the ones supplying the jobs, penalizing the producers, there is not going to be any more money to do anything with. people are not going to be able to survive to get food to anything. people that are not producing keep having a hand out. if you keep giving it to those in penalizing the producers, then the producers are going to end up with their hand out. they're going to be stricken with their hands tied. guest: the me come back if i can. i'm familiar with the book. it has been read by millions of people. it is a very interesting book.
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i guess the issue, let's touch on the tax aspect read it right now, 51% of americans do not pay any income taxes. they pay payroll taxes. the problem is, this peril taxes are not adequate to fund medicare, social security. you cannot have in a democracy and majority of americans growing not contrary to the constitutional rules of the federal government. the median tax rate is 18.8% grid that is how warren buffett secretary and the pain more tax rate than him rich his income comes primarily through capital gains, which is taxed at 15%. in this report, we talk about how to engage in comprehensive tax reform that will improve economic growth, and hence our
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posture, whichever one is contending a fair share to generate more revenue. that is very important read by the way, it would not violate the tax pledge, although, i believe such pledges are totally inappropriate and should be rescinded and rejected. host: we're talking with david walker. without reforms by 2012, will only cover social security, medicare, medicaid and interest on the debt. 2046, revenue will not even cover interest costs. we can see last year and 2022 and 2046. you can see the time line or the revenue is an honor the things that have to be spent for and money is allocated to. let's go to a comment on twitter. if we had a downgrade, would it be that bad?
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we would only be downgraded to aa rating that is still a pretty good bond rating, in my book. what do you think, mr. walker? guest: we would have to pay higher interest rate, but how much higher would they be? you just saw that graf that showed under our present pact based on historical levels of revenue about 18.2% of the economy, the only thing we could pay for in 2046 based on the current pact is interest. that is without a significant increase in interest rates. by now we have historically low interest rates, but that could change dramatically if our credit rating changes. for everyone% increase, 100 basis points, about $150 billion a year in interest. what you get for that? as we say in the south, shinola. nothing. host: we go to the democrat line. caller: first of all, i am truly
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upset. if i do not talk intelligently, please, excuse me. greed, greed, greed. the rich and powerful are getting rich and powerful. the rich and powerful are hellbent on destroying this country because of the fear of losing their money. we should raise their taxes on their rich. i am paying taxes big time on my life. the thing is, i am so upset with the ignorance, with the calls that come in. it is devastating to say the rich are helping the poor to get jobs is absolutely ludicrous. i am so upset because there is a goal to tear down the little guy. of course the goal is to destroy obama, which is unspeakable. the middle class and the poor are suffering.
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all because of money. money, money. that is what is so upsetting to me. guest: there is absolutely no question there is a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the world and the u.s. as well. it is not just an issue of wealth. it is also an issue of education. important, the comprehensive tax reform that is outlined in the comeback america restoring fiscal sanity report under both from march would end up resulting with everybody and that making more than a stated percentage will pay something. those who end up having more and make more will pay more. we will have an even more progressive tax system. but the way we do it is through comprehensive tax reform that will end up making sure we equate taxes on labor, with taxes on capital. we will have a more economic
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system that is more vibrant and will stimulate economic growth and generate more revenues at historic levels. host: maryland, independent line. caller: social security is overrated. if you want to be poor, make your plans to live on social security. i have social security, 7.6% of my income a whole life. the other is a vanguard account. we pay 10,000 a year on vanguard. we have it for eight years. with all of the recessions, we got $1 million. we have been using that for 10 years. we did it ourselves with the
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difficulty. on the other hand, we put in about $300,000 to the federal government -- a pension plan is when you put your money into overtime, it grows. when you allow the government to take over your retirement, you get what you deserve. that is a threat with the president of the united states saying, we may not be able to give you your money. we have been hoodwinked. guest: a couple of key points. social security is not a pension system. it is a show shall insurance system where there are survivors benefits. it was never intended to be the
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sole form of retirement income. it was intended to be a foundation. like with a house, you have to add to the foundation to have a habitable drill -- dwelling. over 56% americans rely primarily on social security. it is paying out more than it is being paid into. it can be made solvent come sustainable, indefinite leave. we did that by laying out of this report in fiscal insanity. -- fiscal sanity. the younger you are, the better off you are financially. we need to get our savings rate up. pension plans, other vehicles.
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we need to move through some type of universal savings arrangement, because the system we have now is not working. host: the founder and ceo of the combat americas initiative. -- come back america initiative. new york, republican line, joining the conversation. caller: thanks for taking my call and thinks mr. walker for his years of service that has had an impact on some aspects of american life. the question i want to pose to him is that, one of the reasons i believe congress, senate, and the presidents are having a problem developing a consensus on this issue is that they
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cannot send the debt ceiling without addressing structurally to some aspects of the deficit in terms of how we are going to pay for it. i believe the rating agencies have sat with both the senate and house of representatives lives -- they can extend the debt ceiling without addressing the deficit in a meaningful way that they could still risk having the country's credit rating fallaway. is that true? guest: that is true. there are two issues. raising the debt limit. they have to recognize the u.s. garment spent $4 billion a day more than it has taken in. what is going to be done in conjunction with raising the
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debt limit. we have to demonstrate that we now know we are living beyond our means. we will take steps to put our finances in order. we cannot spend billions of dollars a day more than we take in without having a day of reckoning. we need to do something meaningful. we have to recognize what we are doing now versus what we are doing later like social insurance reforms. we have to recognize that some things will not be able to be done until after the election. comprehensive health care reform -- we have to engage american people with the tough choices. they deserve to know and to hear what the proper path forward is. host: would it be less
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contentious if we had not entered an election year? is the political element heightening this here? guest: no question. close margins in the house and senate. they want to keep the house. president obama wants to get to be elected. republicans want a republican elected. there are pressures on the right into the left. never say never. it is fine to make a commitment to one's constituents, but to take a pledge to special interest groups on the right or the left is inappropriate. there is a reason why we have
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this stalemate. we are headed off a cliff if we do not change course. host: next caller. caller: i am very angry with boehner. republicans are stalling the economy under this president so they can make sure they have the voters so frustrated so that they be elected the same bunch that put us out in this heavy deficit situation right now. they are using the port to play political games with that this president and cutting back is to lay off people to cause unemployment to go up, cutting important programs and social organizations that we need to
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make unemployment go up. they are using the american public naiveness. barack obama came to the meeting table several times. when he tries to give them what they want, they say no. host: she brought up raising taxes on the wealthiest americans. guest: i understand that you are upset. many americans have gone from concern to discussed. the american people are smarter than people give them credit for. if it looks like one party is disproportionately responsible,
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and we do have a u.s. debt crisis, they will be held accountable at the polls. it is important that we work together to reach a reasonable compromise, because all of us will be affected one way or the other. our fiscal situation is so challenging that he will not solve the problems by taxing the rich. if you look at our total liabilities, retiree health care, contingencies, medicare, social security, all of these things -- as of september 2010, we were in a $61 trillion whole. that is over $500,000 per household. you could eliminate all of the bush obama tax cuts, you could end up eliminating all congressional earmarks and
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eliminate all foreign aid, which people think is a big number, but it is not. that is about 20% of the problem. the government has grown too big, promised to much, which did too long to restructure. we will have more revenues, but we need to go about it in an intelligent way to make our system simpler, fairer, more competitive and will promote job growth and innovation. under the comeback american initiative, there is an additional money for helping the economic recovery and deal with unemployment. the less spending reductions of the next few years is over $3 trillion. if we do not put our finances in order, we will have a lot bigger problems in the future. >> congress should be fired if
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they cannot reach a deficit deal according to senator warner. you started off this segment same congress needs to take action. there is a problem with their effectiveness. a but point to you think congress will be fired? guest: the american people decide whether or not to read- hire another member of congress. we have another election coming up in november 2012. no deal, no pay. they are one of the first ones to get cut off, because they are not doing their job.
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and no retroactive pay either. we have to open the recognize that both political parties are responsible for where we are. spending has been out of control, especially since 2002. we have made more promises than we can afford. very few tax cuts pay for themselves. we need election reform. we need denigrated and -- integrated reform and term limits. we do not need career politicians that are more concerned about getting reelected and doing their job. >> you may run for office in the state of connecticut. are you looking at that
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possibility? among those pushing you to run is the national republican senatorial committee. why would you run? guest: i was an independent -- i am an independent and was a republican prior to that. i do not like politics or career politicians. my view is our country is at a critical crossroads. the decisions that need to be made will determine our country's future and whether the future for my grandchildren and others will be better in the past. i have ticket -- decide if i will dedicate the rest of my life to this type of public service. i am thinking about it, but i am not going to rush into any decisions. host: your political alignment
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has changed over the years. you have taken a break from one political party. how would that affect your run and where would you sit? guest: i was born and raised in alabama and florida. if you were a democrat, you were disenfranchised, because of the elections were decided in the primaries. i went from being a conservative democrat to a moderate republican. i was ahead of the wave. in a job, you had to be independent. i decided to become an independent. i remained one when i left that job, because it has put me in good stead. i have been able to deal with republicans and democrats.
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many americans are independent. you do not have to run with one of the parties or you could run as an independent and with one of the parties. i would have to decide that down the road. host: david walker is president and ceo of the comeback america initiative. he served as the comptroller general of the united states and head of the u.s. government accountability office for almost 10 years. let us go to massachusetts on our independent line. caller: thank you, mr. walker. you have talked so much common sense this morning. i do feel from what i have been listening to that republicans have been for tax reform.
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i am very frightened with what i hear. all i hear is about of class warfare around a blame game. i think both parties are totally responsible for where the country is today. i do not think singing who did what will solve anything. we need a wake-up call in this country. american people better wake up. we are in serious trouble. host: what do you think it is going to take? caller: we need to cut our spending. the american people will have a hard lesson to learn. we are spending too much money. guest: i agree with you 110%. both political parties are responsible for where we are. we can blame a lot of people, but it is sought.
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to be productive. we need to recognize reality. the government has promised to much, grown into big, which it long to respond, spent more than it has. we need to make sure that we discharge our constitutional responsibilities, have a sound in some credible safety net for those that truly need it, while doing things to grow our economy, make sure people pare their fair share with regard to taxes. that is what restoring fiscal sanity and this free market does. republicans are for comprehensive tax reform, and so are democrats. we will do a comprehensive tax reform, but not get it until after the 2012 elections. we can do it in a way that would we can do it in a way that would